November 23, 2021

EP. 240 — How Expansive Is Oregon Trail History? with Professor Margaret Huettl

Can you map out the Oregon Trail? If you just flashed back to playing The Oregon Trail video game in your sixth grade computer lab, get ready for a journey. Jonathan and Professor Margaret Huettl explore how Native knowledge systems established the Oregon Trail; how Native peoples experienced non-Native settlers moving West; and how Indigenous communities today are reckoning with this past to build a better future.


Margaret Huettl, a descendant of Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibweg, Assyrian refugees, and European settlers, is Assistant Professor in History and Ethnic Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is a scholar of Native American history and North American Wests, and her research examines the continuities of Ojibwe sovereignty in the context of settler colonialism in both the United States and Canada, centering Ojibwe ways of knowing.


You can follow her on Twitter @historianhuettl.


Want to learn more about the Oregon Trail?


See whose land you’re living on, or learn more about the Native nations whose land was crossed by the Oregon Trail:


Visit the only Oregon Trail museum run by Indigenous people: TAMÁSTSLIKT CULTURAL INSTITUTE


Explore the Fort Laramie Treaty through an interactive case study: Fort Laramie Treaty Case Study


Read Margaret’s work: “Treaty Stories: Reclaiming the Unbroken History of Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Sovereignty”


Learn more about Indigenous representations: IllumiNative.


Check out some Indigenous-centered games:


When Rivers Were Trails


Growing Up Ojibwe

Never Alone


Find out what today’s guest and former guests are up to by following us on Instagram and Twitter @CuriousWithJVN.

Transcripts for each episode are available at

Check out Getting Curious merch at

Listen to more music from Quiñ by heading over to

Jonathan is on Instagram and Twitter @JVN and @Jonathan.Vanness on Facebook.


Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness & Professor Margaret Huettl JVN [00:00:00] Welcome to Getting Curious. I’m Jonathan Van Ness and every week I sit down for a gorgeous conversation with a brilliant expert to learn all about something that makes me curious. On today’s episode, I’m joined by Professor Margaret Huettl, where I ask her: What’s the real story of the Oregon Trail? Welcome to Getting Curious, this is Jonathan Van Ness. I’m so excited for today’s episode, it is major, I’ve been curious about this for a really long time, but like everything else that I’ve been curious about since the 90s, I’ve learned a lot more of, like, a full, intersectional picture of it. So without any further ado, welcome to the show Margaret Huettl, who is a scholar of Native American history and North American Wests at University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her research examines Indigenous sovereignty and settler colonization in a transnational context. Welcome,

Recent Episodes

May 31, 2023

In the coming weeks, the Supreme Court of the United States will hand down decisions that could have major implications for LGBTQIA+ rights, racial justice, tribal sovereignty, and beyond.

May 24, 2023

We’re dripping in jewels this week on Getting Curious! What does it mean for a diamond to be “hard”? Are lab-grown gems made to perfection? What’s the difference between rubies and pink sapphires?

May 18, 2023

New Orleans was one of America’s most important cities in the early 1800s. It was also one of the most deadly. This week, to mark the new season of Queer Eye, we’re exploring New Orleans history with Dr. Kathryn Olivarius in a special two-part episode.